Greek polls contradict each other as publication ban nears
UPDATED @ 01:26:23 PM 01-06-2012
ATHENS, June 1 — Greek opinion polls contradicted each other today, one day before a ban on their publication kicks in, sowing confusion as to which party is the front-runner to win a June 17 election that may decide whether the country will stay in the euro zone.
Even though most polls show the conservative New Democracy, which is backing the country’s international bailout, with a narrow lead, the latest poll to be published today by agency Public Issue showed a six-point lead for the radical leftist SYRIZA, which opposes it.
SYRIZA says it wants Greece to stay in the euro but ditch the €130 billion (RM512 billion) international rescue package and the tough austerity policies prescribed by the European Union and other lenders to help dig Athens out of its debt hole.
By contrast, pollsters Rass and Kapa showed earlier today New Democracy ahead by between 2.3 and 2.5 points.
Greece’s electoral system provides a huge bonus of an extra 50 parliamentary seats to the winning party, making it practically impossible for its rivals to form a government without it.
EU leaders have warned Greece of the consequences of renouncing the bailout conditions and threatened to pull the plug on new funding — a move that may lead to rapid bankruptcy for Greece and an ignominious exit from the single currency.
But SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said yesterday a return to the drachma was not an option, reiterating his stance that Greece must cancel the bailout and renegotiate a new plan to help its battered economy recover.
“There is no danger of us leaving the euro zone. We need to cancel the bailout which has led to catastrophe,” Tsipras said in an interview with the enikos.gr website. “We will replace it with a national plan to resurrect the economy.”
Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy, earlier told supporters any move to reject the rescue package would plunge Greece into a nightmare that it could not control.
“Those who talk of denouncing the bailout are like little children playing with matches in a gunpowder warehouse, and they are driving us towards an isolated Greece.”
Greece has been hit hard by more than four years of recession as well as surging unemployment and dwindling cash reserves. Fatigued by an austerity program that has brought cuts in pay and pensions and higher taxes, its electorate does not see light at the end of the tunnel. — Reuters